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    Falafel stuffed with sumac onions

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    Falafel stuffed with sumac onions

    By Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich

    Perfect just as they are, falafel need no embellishment or improvement. Or so we thought, until we tried this stuffed version in Jordan – a crisp shell giving way to sweet and tangy onions flavoured with sumac. It really won our hearts.

    • Vegan
    • Preparation time: 1 hour + overnight soaking
    • Cooking time: 20 minutes
    • Total time: 1 hour 20 minutes + overnight soaking

    Makes: 14-18 (serves 4-6 as part of a spread)

    Ingredients

    Falafel
    200g dried chickpeas
    2 large onions, roughly chopped
    3 cloves garlic
    2 tbsp ground cumin
    ½ tsp sumac
    2 tsp baking powder
    1½ tsp salt
    4 tbsp plain flour (or gram flour to make it gluten free)
    1 litre vegetable oil, for frying

    Sumac onions
    1 large red onion, very finely sliced
    ½ tsp sumac

    Tahini sauce
    200g tahini
    1 clove garlic, crushed
    2 lemons, juice of 1,1 cut into wedges

    Method

    1. Soak the dried chickpeas in plenty of water for at least 8 hours until they double in size (do not cook them and do not use canned). For the sumac onions, mix the red onion with the sumac and a pinch of salt. Cover and set aside in the fridge. 

    2. For the tahini sauce, put the tahini, crushed garlic, lemon juice and a pinch of salt in a food processor; add 100ml ice-cold water and whizz together. It will go pasty but don’t fear: drizzle in another 100ml ice-cold water, keeping the motor running, until the mixture loosens up to a creamy texture. Adjust the salt to your liking; set aside. 

    3. Drain the soaked chickpeas and put in a food processor with the chopped onions and garlic; whizz until everything becomes a thick paste with the consistency of rough breadcrumbs. Add the spices, baking powder, salt and flour; whizz again until all is well combined. Create 40g mounds of the mixture. Pick up each mound and flatten with damp hands, then put a little of the sumac onion in the centre of each. Fold over to conceal and create a slightly flattened patty. Put on a plate and repeat with the rest of the mixture. Set aside any remaining sumac onion.

    4. When you are ready to fry, fill a large, deep frying pan with the vegetable oil; set on a medium heat (if you have a thermometer you want it to reach 170ºC). Carefully lower a single layer of the patties into the oil (you will need to do this in batches) and fry for 2-3 minutes, until crisp and golden on the bottom, then carefully turn and cook on the other side for a further 2-3 minutes. Remove with a slotted or spider straining spoon; blot dry on kitchen paper. Repeat with the remaining patties. Serve the falafel warm with the tahini sauce, any remaining sumac onions and the lemon wedges.

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